Friday, August 23, 2013

FIA GT3 in USCR: How do we get down to 35-45 entries as John Dagys has mentioned? I'll Show You....

 When John first said that, I was taken aback as I didn't see how that could be possible, but then I thought about it more and as rumors have turned into reality; Its very possible to get a combined field of 60+ cars down to about half of that plus a few more.

 Let's take stock of what we have in GTC and Rolex GT currently. 

 At Kansas last weekend, 10 GT cars showed up and raced.

 Next weekend's ALMS@Baltimore, 9 GTC cars are entered.

 For a grand total of 19. That will fluctuate 1-2 cars in either series because Grand Am has only two races left, while the ALMS has three including Petit.

 What has been confirmed by several sources is that the GX class which was initially thought to be folded into the new GT-D class will not happen. I think this forced the hand of Stevenson Motorsports who bowed out of the series next season to focus on the Continental Tire series.

 Also factoring into this is: Confirmed by Will Turner of Turner Motorsports, that BMW will not support his Prep 2 (Tube Frame) BMW M3's next season. 

 The 4 Series is the sport coupe that BMW will be promoting next season as they just announced that the current M3 bodyshells will be replaced by the 4 series coupe in 2014 DTM.

 So in effect no tube frame cars at all. Mazda I assume will make a formal announcement soon about its intentions, which are rumored to be moving to a customer support roll.

 60 cars, minus 5+3 = 52 or broken down by series -

 All GX cars, both Turner BMW's and the Stevenson's Camaro

 *I am not counting the Marsh Racing Corvette because its been already announced they will be moving up to a DP Corvette.

 That's not all the carnage, that's just the beginning!

 I believe all the Porsche GT3 Cup cars are in jeopardy as well. They might now all disappear from the series but they will not be competitive and will drop away completely by the end of the season in 2014.

 This is mostly from my personal belief that nobody buying a brand new FIA spec GT3 wants it to be dumbed down to Grand Am Porsche GT3 Cup/ALMS GTC speed.

 So with that, let's talk about what will happen to the teams that currently run these cars.

 From the Grand Am side of things, that is two regular season entries; Park  Place Motorsports and Magnus Racing.

 Nobody knows these teams intentions for next year at the moment but I expect something next month as both series start to wind down. That said John Potter spoke to John Hindbaugh on Mid-Week Motorsports about the history of Magnus and the possibilities of next season. Potter didn't confirm anything or really tip his hand, but from what he said. I believe he'll be in the USCR next season and in a FIA GT3 spec car, maybe a Porsche, maybe not.

 Park Place on the other hand is a Porsche specialist out of Dallas, TX. Similar to Turner Motorsports with BMW, they live and breathe the cars they specialize in and that's what they race. Weather that is their current Cup car modified to roughly World Challenge spec (larger engine inlet, ABS) or soon to be announced 991 based Porsche 911 GT3-R is unknown.

 So that's Magnus confirmed, Park Place unconfirmed and not on the entry list at Laguna Seca in two weeks.

 Things are a bit more firm over in the ALMS paddock...

 TRG (The Racer's Group) announced they would be the US representative for Aston Martin Racing late last year (2012). We haven't seen much from this, only a flash here and there, mainly in SCCA World Challenge GTS with modified GT4 Vantages.

 I personally saw the cars at Long Beach earlier this year (2013). 

 However that is changing with the official US competitive debut of the Vantage GT3 car at this weekend SCCA World Challenge round at TRG's home track (where they are based) Sonoma. I am going to assume TRG will finish the ALMS GTC season with Porsches but at Daytona next Feb they will have Aston Martins.

Testing at Sonoma

 Buckler himself will return to the cockpit for this race, I am not sure if that will carry over into next season, I sort of doubt it.

 Alex Job Racing can go in one of several directions. Since they broke out of their Porsche specialist mold a few years, they have successfully run an Audi R8 LMS Grand Am (Winners at Daytona 24) and run a Ferrari in the very competitive ALMS GT class with Yokohama tires. 

 I am fairly sure, they will be defending their Daytona 24 class victory but with what is the question? They have connections to Audi via Brad Kettler, Bill Sweedler owns the Ferrari F458 GT and of course AJR are defending GTC class champions in the ALMS. Alex Job himself is on record saying he would buy whatever car was competitive and give him the best chance of winning. In the past, that usually was a Porsche, but that might not be the case any longer and here's why.

 The Ferrari F458 GT3 car is extremely easy to get a good lap time from. This has been echoed around the world if you bother to listen. The latest to sing its praises is former Indycar driver Alex Tagliani who liked it so much, he put it on the pole at Kansas last weekend and has had only limited running in the car. He said it reminded him of his days in Toyota Atlantic with Anthony Lazaro who also drives a Ferrari F458...

 Now that AJR has a connection with Ferrari and is currenting running two cars in two classes, its is not much of a stretch to assume he could run both the GT3 and GT versions of the cars. In fact, I think it would be idea. Sweedler and McNeil can run Ferraris in GT-D with a Pro co-driver, while Townsend Bell and Leh Keen can continue to drive the GT-LM car.

 If you're reading this Alex, be sure to put a check in the mail or at least invite me into paddock next season at Long Beach...

 From there its a bit muddy and I talk about the possibilities here



No comments:

Post a Comment

Recent Comments